Mark and Ann are both committed Christians though they grew from different backgrounds. Mark was brought up within the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in north west England. Quakers practice silent worship and meditation. Ann belonged to the Scottish Presbyterian Church where she participated in activities such as choir, Girl Guides and Guide Captain and later as an elder in the Scottish Baptist Church. When they first met in their twenties they were on different pages. Ann found her personal relationship with Jesus in her teens whereas Mark was more mature when he made his decision. Both, separately, walked the paths of marriage, divorce, marriage, and bereavement before they realised God was drawing them together.
By the time they married in 1994 they shared their love of Jesus and have grown together in understanding Christian values, membership of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and trying to reflect Jesus’ standards in their own behaviour. Important steps have been participation in the Cursillo Movement and Lutheran Marriage Encounter. Mark has visited the Holy Land and Colombia where he was part of a Synod short term building project. Ann has a World Vision ‘Granddaughter’ in South Africa, supports Samaritan’s Purse and has been a hospital Pastoral Care Volunteer with Lutheran Hospital Ministries Southern Alberta. In addition to other outreach they support missionary friends working with Wycliffe Bible Translators in the Nahuatl speaking area of Oaxaca, Mexico.
Mark and Ann’s Christian belief is the basis for setting their daily agenda, planning activities and seeking to do God’s will and hear his wisdom and direction.
Involvement with Christian Organisations has helped to develop Ann and Mark’s spiritual growth by providing resources for study, learning and demonstrating daily practical Christianity.
Cursillo de Christiandad, originating in Spain, means a short course in Christian living. Mark first participated in an ecumenical Cursillo in Whitehorse, Yukon, then with Anglicans and Roman Catholics in Prince George, BC and for many years through the Anglican Church in Calgary, Alberta. Ann gladly got involved in Calgary. The Cursillo experience affects each participant differently: for Mark it was realisation of the full promise of the Bible “now I understand” and for Ann it brought affirmation and encouragement. Both built leadership skills and an invaluable support network, leading to lasting friendships.
Lutheran Marriage Encounter: A weekend retreat for a husband and wife who love each other and desire to better their communication. Mark and Ann found this an enriching experience which helped them to improve their own marriage and also support other couples through prayer.
(Lutheran weekends no longer seem to operate in Canada, probably because of unavailability of clergy couples. Catholic and Anglican Marriage Encounter weekends in Canada are listed on websites.) Later, in conjunction with their church, they facilitated support groups for separated and divorcing/divorced Christians, helping them to focus on God’s direction in their new status.
Pastoral / Spiritual and Palliative Care training: Ann has always had a heart for reaching out to help anyone in need. Thanks to courses with the Anglican Church, Lutheran Hospital Ministries and the Catholic F C J Christian Life Centre she gained listening prayer skills and certification to equip her for a lay volunteer visiting ministry within Calgary area hospitals and care centres.
Lutheran Hospital Ministries (Southern Alberta): Bringing Jesus’ Healing, whether spiritual or emotional, to patients in hospital and residents of long term care centres. For 15 years Ann visited Lutheran patients and their families mainly in Foothills Medical Centre, offering a listening ear and compassionate shoulder and sharing the gift of prayer and Scripture. She also served as a Director, initiating and implementing an advocacy and public relations policy.